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Saturday August 22, 2009 9:55 pm

One Man Mock Draft, Fantasy NBA 2009: Round 1, Pick 7




Posted by Alvin Lai Categories: Fantasy, NBA,

Granger

LeBron James and Chris Paul represent the top tier in fantasy basketball this season. Both deserve to own top dog status, and arguing vehemently for one over the other is like splitting hairs. Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard were penciled in as the heart of the lineup in the first round and represent the second tier. Wade currently leads the pack for the third pick overall, and perhaps Dwight has the least chance of going so high since his negative roto buzz sometimes crosses over into other league formats. I believe he deserves to be a high draft pick in a head-to-head league. That means the third tier starts here.

Round 1, Pick 7: Danny Granger, SG/SF, Indiana Pacers

Here are the numbers and league ranks for “Granny Danger” last season. In looking up his stats, my understanding is Granger either did not play enough games last season, or he did not hit the minimum thresholds to qualify for league ranking in several of the categories. Asterisks are used to designate categories in which he did not qualify for league leader consideration, but his approximate ranking based on his per game production is listed in this scenario.

Field Goal Percentage: 0.447(78th)
Free Throw Percentage: 0.878 (13th)
Three-pointers made: 182 (2.7 per game) (4th)
Points: 25.8 (5th)
Rebounds: 5.1(*63rd*)
Assists: 2.7 (*64th*)
Steals: 1.03(*49th*)
Blocks: 1.45 (*14th*)
Turnovers: 2.46 (*24th*)

Not qualifying for league rankings acts as a roundabout way of saying “injury-prone season.” Granger broke out in a big way last year, but the 15 games missed deflated the party just a bit. He returned in time for owners last year and absolutely ripped it up in the fantasy playoffs. I know, because he almost single-handedly beat my team in the finals of my friends and family league. Concerns about his knee have circulated ever since he was drafted, but prior to last season, he missed a total of six games in three years. He averaged a career-high 36.2 minutes per game last year (albeit only slightly up from 36.0 minutes per contest the year before), and was asked to carry the load after Mike Dunleavy missed most of last season.

Besides LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Granger, the NBA does not employ that many players who can hit for 20 points a game and also ring up “one-one-one” on the fantasy one-armed bandit, i.e. at least one trey, steal and block per game. LeBron and Wade rebound and/or pass the rock more which is why they went off the board first. But Granger is for real. Any guy who plans to have his own bat-cave is good in my book.

The only other player to consider in this spot is Dirk Nowitzki. Similar to the Dwyane Wade vs. Kobe Bryant discussion earlier in this draft, choosing between these two means attempting a balancing act between surefire upside and long-range consistency. Dirk has done it before and will do it again. However, Granger can block more shots and can do it from the shooting guard position on your fantasy team, which trumps Dirk’s three-point shooting and solid FT% from a power forward slot.

Granger definitely is fun to have on your team, but 15 games over a head-to-head season means having the guy missing in action for 4-5 weeks, which translates into about one quarter of a fantasy regular season. You will need to minimize injury risk with your other players to guard against a complete meltdown when the injury bug bites hard. Last year the discussion revolved around picking either Granger or Rudy Gay in the third round as the all-purpose guy on your team. Granger has zoomed into first-round territory and barring injury, should stay there for a while.

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